Super Rugby star set for England call-up after New Zealand Rugby sanction release

Brad Shields looks set to be included in England rugby’s squad for the June tour of South Africa after an “extremely disappointed” New Zealand Rugby reluctantly granted his release on Thursday.

The 27-year-old, who is eligible for England courtesy of his parents, was not entitled to demand a release for this June’s international window, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) said.

“Our contract agreement requires Brad to be available for only New Zealand teams until the end of his term, which expires at the end of this year’s Super Rugby season,” NZR’s Chris Lendrum said in a statement.

“Having said that, Brad has been an exceptional leader inside the Hurricanes environment and a loyal servant to New Zealand Rugby.

“We have taken some time to carefully work through the complexities of this request, to ensure that we gave appropriate consideration to his specific circumstances. In the end, we are happy with the terms of his temporary release.

“We are extremely disappointed that the RFU chose to take this unusual step in seeking this release given that Brad has not yet played rugby in England.”

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